I Am So Much More Than a Maiden of Virtue! Part 3 ~ Biblical Chastisement

by WanderingOneAt this point, I think it's necessary to write something about how things changed after my sister was born. It's hard to know what to say here—I do not want to tell my sister's story for her, nor could I presume to do so. But it would be disingenuous to attempt to write about my life without explaining how and why things changed. My little sister was, in so many ways, my opposite. Where I was shy, quiet, reserved and even timid, she was outgoing, bold, adventurous, and confident. I went to her Sunday School class rather than my own; I followed her lead in so many things, even though I was the older of the two of us. This didn't always work very well, given that I was s … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady: Chapter 3 ~ Company of the Faithful

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.by Tess WilloughbyAt Regent University, I had lots of role models. Sweet-tempered women were submitting to their husbands, keeping their student apartments immaculate, and having babies right and left. I learned to buy wheat berries from the local co-op and grind them to bake bread. We were Stepford Wives, only hugely, proudly fertile. We grew herbs. We read books on natural childbirth. We prayed for God to make us more meek and submissive. And we prayed for our dear darling hubbies over at the Christian law school who were going to usher in a new American Revolution and turn this country around. “Shh! Quiet! Daddy’s stud … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 10: It's in the Lord's Hands

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snowby Shelly Cruz I walked over to the phone, and dialed Cecilia’s number. My first thought was that it would possibly be disconnected, but who knows, maybe they finally moved. Cecilia always talked about how the time would come, and their house would be demolished, and then they would have to move. They were living rent-free in an old farmhouse. Someone had blessed them years ago with a property. They had to care for it, and in return they could live there for free, but once the owner passed away, they'd have to move. They were even given a 15-passenger van as a b … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady: Chapter 2 ~ First Prison Break

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.by Tess Willoughby1993 was a rough year. It was the year that Nate was fired from his engineering job in Tazewell, Virginia, and first started thinking about studying the law. It was the year when we went to a conference and met a pastor who advocated corporal punishment for wives, and Nate took to his teachings like a duck to water. It was the year I had Jack, who was conceived a few months after Daniel’s birth. Most notably, 1993 marked my first attempt at a separation from Nate.Daniel had been born at home. Nate and I were part of the Christian separatist movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s, rooted in the belief … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady: Chapter 1 ~ Twisted Communion

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.by Tess WilloughbyOn my wedding day, I embraced a new religion.  I marched up the aisle on my father’s arm, in a white lace gown with monstrous leg-o-mutton sleeves—very fitting for a lamb going to the slaughter.No bride was ever more madly in love, or more giddily romantic, or more enraptured with her white church wedding.  It was my greatest accomplishment; it was my reward from God for being virtuous and pure. Saying vows that I wrote myself, I outdid every right-wing, anti-feminist bride on earth. I promised to obey and submit and never speak a word against my husband until either I was dead or he was—but I think I … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 6: Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit of Happiness.

by KieryWhen we arrived, my boyfriend’s family and pastor took me in and became my adopted family. They ministered to me and loved me, and generally instilled the confidence in myself, in God, and in family that I had lost.When we announced the news of my engagement, my family started writing my pastor and generally trying to sabotage my wedding by not sending my dress or supporting me in any way. To give me my dress would the same as giving money to a homeless drunk in their eyes. My in-laws and my boyfriend paid for everything, and we used the church for free.It was a (perfect) small wedding. My grandparents came and I walked the aisle alone. I liked this because, it was me, making a … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 9: Draw Near to God

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snowby Shelly CruzIt was not until a period of distance was placed between my family and Cecilia’s, that I began to see the blessing that Cecilia gave me. It was an ABUNDANT blessing in disguise! At the time, I felt sad, lonely, depressed and even angry with her and with her whole family. I felt that Cecilia divorced our friendship, and I had no idea why.I went from being a babe in Christ, to a woman, desiring nothing more, than to love my Savior Jesus. God was changing me little by little each day. I began to pray for specific things, and within weeks, sometimes d … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady ~ Prologue: Final Break

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.by Tess WilloughbyJuly 12, 2000.  I woke up with one thought in my head.  I am going to die.I don’t know where this conviction came from, unless it was the cracked ribs.  It hurt to move; it hurt to breathe.  I was also dizzy.  I had awakened dizzy for five months straight, ever since Maggie was born.  I never went anywhere without a cup of crushed ice to chew on.  This, too, had lasted for five months.  Maggie—exclusively breast-fed—looked puny and pallid.I knew Nate was going to kill me unless I did something to save myself.  I guess I should explain that Nate didn’t crack my ribs.  They had been cracked in the acc … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 8: Somehow, I Lost My Entire Identity

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snowby Shelly CruzThere was so much to read about this man; I didn't even know where to begin. I stumbled across a message board that had a whole bunch of people who grew up following his teachings. They were adults now. The thing that perplexed me the most, was that these folks were calling him a religious cult leader, and that did not seem right to me.Cecilia and her family were very strong, mature Christians. They would never get involved with something cultish, would they? The time I spent reading about this man, seemed so déjà vu to me. Everything I was reading f … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 7: A Godly, God-Fearing Man

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snowby Shelly CruzI was feeling inadequate as a wife and mother lately, but had no clue why. Maybe it was because Cecilia called her husband Sir, and was always hanging on his every word. This had been making me nervous for a while now.I remember asking her about it one day and she only shared, that Sarah called Abraham "Lord." It was a matter of respect.I took a moment, trying to imagine myself, calling my husband Lord, or even Sir. I could not help but chuckle each time I said it to myself. Is this something that a Godly wife was suppose to do? Should I be asking … [Read more...]


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